We are blessed with a cathedral dedicated to the Holy Angels. Upon my first visit to the cathedral, I was struck by the carved image of an angel adjoining the cathedra (bishop’s chair). The angel is positioned in such a way that it appears the angel is speaking into my ear as I sit upon the chair. The Holy Angels, while referring to all angels, is a specific title for the guardian angels. As your bishop, I pray that my guardian angel is whispering into my ear, giving me the wisdom and discernment of the Holy Spirit as I shepherd our local church.
Since the Holy Angels are our diocesan patrons, we should honor and invoke them in a special way. Jesus was consoled by the Angels as part of his 40 days in the desert. We, too, should ask them to guide, console, and protect us during our 40 days of Lent.
To inspire us, I share with you a few key passages from the Catechism of the Catholic Church to help us appreciate our angels and call upon them.
Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples. Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself.
From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. When God "brings the firstborn into the world, he says: 'Let all God's angels worship him.'" Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church's praise: "Glory to God in the highest!" They protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, when he could have been saved by them from the hands of his enemies as Israel had been. Again, it is the angels who "evangelize" by proclaiming the Good News of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection. They will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgement. [Catechism of the Catholic Church, par 332-333.]
Here is a simple traditional prayer often taught to children and prayed by many for the rest of their lives:
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom God’s love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard, to rule and guide.
May the Holy Angels guard and guide all of the faithful in the Diocese of Gary.
The Most Reverend Robert J. McClory
Diocese of Gary